Taking Myself Seriously

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A serious writer.

I find and place three pairs of socks. Brush three sets of teeth. Pack snacks in two different bags. (Also, spend an inordinate amount of time finding containers with lids for said snacks. Finally give up and just pack an entire sleeve of crackers.) I physically dress or coach the dressing of the kids.

Together, my husband and I buckle them into three car seats. I drop the husband at the hotel. Drop the oldest at kindergarten. Try to keep him focused on undressing and writing his name on the sign in sheet. Kiss goodbye. I take the other two to a friend with whom I’ve worked out a childcare exchange. Undress kids, chat for a moment, say goodbye, and run.

I am here, in my cold little office. The electric kettle is boiling and I’ll make a cup of tea. I light a stick of incense because I like doing something to mark the shift from my mundane to my sacred time. My writing time.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

It’s not enough.

I’ve come to realize that in the past week or so. There are two projects jumping for attention in my brain. Two projects that are languishing right now because all I can afford is an hour here, two hours there, of sporadic time. It’s hard to take myself seriously as a writer when time for research and writing comes second. Comes third.

I’ve decided that it can’t be something I fit into the spaces that may or may not open up in my day. I’ve decided that writing has to come first. That I have to look at this as a business that I am starting myself. As it stands, writing feels like a hobby. I want it to be my vocation.

I am the one who keeps myself from this. I am the one who is afraid to take the risk of finding more permanent, regular childcare and sitting down and researching and writing and maybe publishing my words. I tell myself that because I didn’t have “a Career” before having kids, that I have to be a stay at home mom. Talking to my husband about this, he answers: “Why? Says who?”

I feel like some kind of monster for not wanting to spend all of my time (literally, all of it) with my kids. But then, upon further reflection, I realize that many women don’t want to do this. They had jobs that they loved, or that they needed, before having kids. After having kids, they go back to them. I certainly don’t think they’re monsters. So why am I one?

The answer lies in the risk I’m taking. In diving into my writing like it’s a real, live thing that I want to spend a big chunk of my time doing, I’m taking a huge risk. It is essentially a business endeavor that may very well fail. I might never get published. Or I might choose to become my own publisher, and then suck at marketing myself.

Or, I might become my own publisher, market the shit out of my books, and become a successful author-entrepreneur.

But I won’t ever know if I don’t try. And I want to try NOW. I don’t want to wait three more years until the last baby finally goes off to kindergarten. Those three years will be miserable. I want to get started. I want to take the risk.

I am worthy of my dreams.

I am worthy of the risk.

And I am worthy of some form of childcare!

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8 thoughts on “Taking Myself Seriously

  1. Yes yes yes yes a thousand times yes!! I started taking mysel seriously as a writer around the same time, when my eldest was in kindergarten and my little guy was nearing 2. You are going to make it happen, this is the first crucial step ❤️

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    • Yay! Thanks for the encouragement! Part time day care for 2 kids ain’t cheap…having a hard time justifying it for myself! But even casual, 2 mornings a week would be better than nothing.

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  2. I’m standing atop my new desk (or curbside-found IKEA table) shouting, YES, yes, me too! I love all of this so much. I’m in a very similar place, facing similar choices. For years I’ve denied myself writing as an actual vocation. It involves a risk that terrifies me, but I’ve reached a place where I’ve no choice but to go forward. Ironically, I was a risk-taker all through my youth, which is maybe why it feels reckless, a false equivalency I’m realizing as I write this. My husband and I juggle childcare while we work day jobs, so it’s going to be mostly writing at night for me and maybe some morning hours on the weekend, but I must be fierce once again about guarding my time. My desk was the first step, both physical and symbolic. I’m so happy for you that you’ve made this decision and carved out more time. You’re meant for this, Tara. It’s going to be amazing!

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      • Oh no, I’m not a night person at all! My fresh thoughts and fastest writing come in the early morning–but so does my toddler’s internal alarm clock! On the mornings I’m substitute teaching, we rise at 4:30 a.m. and the morning is lost. But on the days I’m here, I’m stealing time at my desk, in the morning and at night. So far, I haven’t been able to write at all on the days I teach, but hopefully that will change. It’s a work in progress. The upside to having less time: I’m more productive with the time I do have. Even the ten minute chunks count. I can’t wait to see what this year brings for us both! 🙂

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  3. Amen, sister!! I’m so glad to read this, if only because it means I might be able to read more of your wonderful work. I’m rooting for you every step of the way!

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  4. Pingback: Adjustments | Tara Borin Writes

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